Fantasy Football: Should You Start Arian Foster Against Pittsburgh This Week?

Kraig LundbergAnalyst IIIOctober 1, 2011

HOUSTON - AUGUST 20:  Running back Arian Foster #23 of the Houston Texans rushes against the New Orleans Saints in the first quarter at Reliant Stadium on August 20, 2011 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
Bob Levey/Getty Images

With Houston Texans star Arian Foster sidelined, fantasy football owners have been forced to look elsewhere to fill the spot. Back-up runner Ben Tate has had a fantastic season in Foster's absence, which has eased the burden on some fantasy lineups that were counting on Foster.

However, Foster is listed as "probable" for this week's matchup against the Pittsburgh Steelers, who have been known to defend the run very well.

So the question is, do you start the returning rushing champ coming off an injury playing against one of the top run defenses in the league?

The possible drawbacks to starting Foster are very obvious. First, is the Steelers defense—Pittsburgh has struggled somewhat this year, but the defense remains strong against the run, ranking 12th in the league allowing less than 100 yards per game.

On top of that, hamstring injuries have the tendency to hang around, and Foster has already played and been taken back out earlier this year because of the lingering injury.

The biggest thing going for Foster owners is coach Gary Kubiak's words: "[We are] going to put him back to work full-time and see how he holds up."

Based on that quote, it seems as though Foster will take over and Ben Tate will be relegated to back-up duty.

If that's the case, then Foster could be a decent start against the Steelers. However, it's also very possible that Tate will eat into Foster's carries, and if that's the case, it's hard to see Foster getting a whole lot of fantasy points.

The bottom line is, if you have a better option than Foster, go ahead and leave the Texan on the bench until you're sure he's back for good. But if you are relying on Foster this season, that "probable" status has to be looking pretty good.